What happens when one parent wants to move to another city and take a child with them?
These cases are called “Mobility Cases” and they are often the most difficult to resolve.
When a court is faced with this issue the judge will try to determine what is in the best interests of the child, not the parents. It is well established that it is usually in the best interests of a child to have the maximum possible contact with both of their parents but this can be difficult if one parent moves away.
Factors the court will consider are:
- The reason for the move: is it absolutely necessary or is it just that one parent wants to move to another city?
- Does the parent have work opportunities in both locations or do they have to move to pursue their career? Do they have to move because of their new spouse’s career?
- What will the standard of living of the child be in both locations?
- Where do the child’s extended family members reside?
- What are the proposed access arrangements: who will travel and who can afford to travel?
- If the child has to travel, will this be too onerous for the child?
- What other opportunities exist for the child in both locations?
A court cannot make an order preventing a parent from moving but they can make an order stating where the child will live. They can also make orders stating how and when access will occur and which parent will pay the access costs if travel is required.
Deborah A. Todd